Showing posts from 2013

Gender politics at the Evans Head SLSC

I walked right by them, but Izzy spotted these signs on the toilet doors at the Evans Head surf lifesaving club when I was there recently. Aren't they awesome!

Seriously (and unexpectedly) epic work disrupting the representation and performance of gender norms, Evans Head SLSC.

Meanwhile, on the Gold Coast...

Logging Sweden

I came across this little clip of Swedish surfer, Vera Nording, yesterday. By now I've seen lots of stories of surfing in Scandinavia so the knowledge that there is a thriving surf scene in that part of the world is not new. But until this clip I had not seen any footage of logging.


This clip is lovely and I was stoked to find it. So much about it is so familiar - the shape of the board, the aesthetic of the design and the way the film is shot, the evoking of Southern California with the soft sunlight light, the happy, cute, girl-next-door surfer, the tattoos - but the overall feeling of steely cold is something unfamiliar too. For me, anyway.

Maybe it's just one of those moments when you realise the pervasiveness of certain aesthetics or ideas across this kind of longboarding. I'm not saying that's a terrible thing - my surfing life is recognisable in this way too - I'm just saying that if I hadn't been told this …

Thirty six

Look what I got just in time for summer...

9'6", roll bottom, half-inch cedar stringer, hatchet fin, joy!
Thanks, Tony. Thanks, Woosley!

Runs in the family

I spent a couple of days with my 4 1/2 year old niece, Mame Diarra, this week. I've talked about her on this blog a bit before - mostly about how much she loves the ocean, and how unspeakably happy that makes me.

Mame Diarra loves being in water. She can't swim yet, but she has no fear whatsoever so when you take her in the ocean or a pool, you have to watch/hold onto her her really carefully. The other day, we were in Brisbane, so I took her and she was in heaven. She was straight in there and jumping off the starting blocks and insisting that even though she can't swim, I let go of her so she could try. When I let her go she kicks and thrashes her arms and juts her chin out and smiles as wide as you can imagine. Oh man, I love her.

After our swim we went to the park where she climbed high on all the equipment and made me climb up there with her. I gave up after a while and sat on the swing, so she started pushing me higher and higher. Then she got my phone and took photo…

Great Ocean

There have been some really wonderful surfing publications come out in the last 5 years or so. Kurungabaa: a journal of literature, history and ideas from the sea is obviously the one most close to my own heart, but White Horses and Wax Magazine are other stand outs for me. As these publications have appeared, I've been really stoked watching the surf magazine scene diversify both in form, content and contributors. The key is that they are not surf magazines in the sense that surfing is the key focus. Rather, they are focused on thing oceanic whether they be surfing, sailing, swimming, diving, art, music, science, scholarship, history, the environment, sex, culture, politics or any other manifestation of that theme. Surfing in and of itself is actually pretty boring really (Oh come on. It is!), so by broadening out the focus these publications have revived this part of culture of surfing.

So I have been excitedly awaiting the appearance of a new kid on the block, Great Ocean, the …

Roxy press release: Please buy our stuff!

So, Roxy finally made a public statement in response to the bad press they received about a promotional clip they made for the Roxy Pro in Biarritz earlier this year.
While I am always hesitant to link to these sites, you can read Roxy's statement over on their blog.  But here it is for your reading pleasure;

More than 20 years ago, we set out to create a brand dedicated to supporting women and girls in their love of surfing and beyond. Since that time, we have worked to build on this heritage by developing great products, creating new competitive opportunities for female athletes, and establishing and growing the Roxy surf and snowboarding teams. We continue to work to do more to achieve this mission.  As fans and supporters of female athletes, we are disappointed by recent mischaracterizations of the Roxy brand and wanted to take this opportunity to share with our fans the true vision and voice of Roxy.  First and foremost, Roxy is and always has been about inspiring female ath…

Women sweat

You know pisses me off? Well, aside from the many things I've posted about on here, this ad pisses me off;

Look, I know this ad is old now (it was released in July), but as you may have noticed I've been wholly without words lately, so allow me this indulgence it talking about what a disgrace this advertisement is. Also, I saw a full-page ad for this product in a magazine today.

Basically, what I want to say is fuck you marketing.

Fuck you marketing for saying that while it's good to be active and sweaty, you should only sweat in apparently invisible ways. That you should only sweat in certain places. That you should only sweat if it doesn't draw attention to your body. Especially to your lady parts!

This stupid ad hits me on a personal level, because for a long time, I felt this way. I mean, I would totally have bought into this ad. For most of my childhood and adolescence I did ballet. I did ballet for 14 years from when I was about 3. I'm absolutely terrible at …

Oh my gosh! I'm completely mental!

It's official. I'm mental. I'm that crazy person who talks to and terrifies strangers on the street.

So tonight I was walking home from my fitness class (yeah, yeah, yeah). I was wearing tights and a t-shirt, and I was sweaty and stringy-haired and most likely red-faced. You know, like what people look like right when they stop exercising. Anyway, as I was walking up the hill past a bus-stop I saw a guy waiting there who looked as though he'd been at a gym or something as well. He was leaning up against a pole, listening to tunes on his head-phones and reading a book.

It was the book that caught my eye. I'd nearly passed him when I realised the cover of the book looked as though it had a surfer getting barreled on it. Without thinking, I stopped and stepped backwards and stuck my head down to look at the cover of the book and asked

'Is that a surfer on the cover?'

He looked at me and slowly took out his headphones as I repeated my question. I think if he wa…


It's important to call out bullshit when you see it, and that is what plenty of people did when Roxy released their now infamous Roxy Pro campaign back in July.

But it is equally as important to point out change for the better when you see it too. And the latest clip for the Roxy Pro is most definitively, change for the better;

I want to make it clear that I'm not promoting Roxy here. Not at all. For a whole heap of reasons, I don't buy their products or support their company with my dollars (nor those of other mainstream surf companies either). But I also understand that in professional and competitive surfing, they have an important role to play in funding, facilitating and promoting the sport and the athletes. And so, in this case I say well done Roxy, keep up the improved work.

And fingers crossed the competitors get good waves and barrels galore!

In defence of Anastasia Ashley

So, I've been thinking a lot about that clip of part of Anastasia Ashley's pre-comp warm-up. I'm sure by now you have seen it. It contains footage of her sort of dancing on the beach as she warms up. The moves she does involve lots of hip rotations and the person who put it together has set it to a song called 'Bubble Butt' (at least, based on the lyrics, that's what I assume it's called). This clip has been widely circulated on surf websites, blogs and social media, but I've decided that I won't post it up here because I think it's really creepy. If you haven't seen it, I'm sure you can find it if you really want to.

The thing is, Anastasia Ashley can do whatever the hell she wants. I'm not saying her moves in this clip are my thing or that I think it does women's surfing many favours, but if she wants to do those moves on the beach to warm up, then that's up to her. She's doing a dance move and it's provocative. So …

Women have fun in Mexico

Women get it back-to-front

Neil Griffith (over at Modyssey) took this image of a woman (Tiffany?) playing around on the Sunshine Coast.  Thanks, Neil.

Women get critical

Holy nose ride, Kassia Meador. I honestly don't know who took this picture, which makes me hesitant to post it. But it is uncredited all over Tumblr at the moment (which is something I really hate about Tumblr, actually), so here it is being blogged now too. 
Because it's a really great shot.

Layne Beachley

Cape Solander, 13 May 2009. Sequence, Billy Morris via Coastalwatch.
Layne Beachley is someone who just seems to rub people up the wrong way. And sure, I've seen her do some things and heard her say some things where I just thought, 'Really?' But I have also seen and heard many famous surfers do and say things that made me shake my head, so I don't really pay Layne's moments too much heed. But for some reason, other people do, and they really rub their dislike of her in her face.

And the sad effect of this has been that she doesn't get the credit that she deserves for her role in  driving and building the profile of competitive surfing in Australia, and in particular the opportunities that many professional female surfers now enjoy. I wouldn't say she is the patron saint of women's surfing - not at all - but I would say that because people don't like her, they don't want to acknowledge her achievements and impact. She rips, she was world champio…

Women have surfed for as long as men

Here are just a few images of some women whose surfing I admire and who have made important contributions to surfing and surfing culture over the last few hundred years. And I assure you, this list of women here, is the tip of a very big iceberg.
Engraving of women surfing in Hawai'i.
Isma Amor was surfing in Manly from as early as 1912.
Isabel Letham was the infamous teenage girl taken into the surf with Duke Kahanamoku in 1915. She was an amazing woman. As part of a long and full life, she was the Director of Swimming for the City of San Francisco. She decided to teach surf lifesaving techniques as part of her program. She attempted to join Manly life saving club in the late 1920s, but was knocked back because as a woman she would not able to handle the rough conditions of the sea. What a crock of shit. (Note: Women were not admitted as members of the Australian Life Saving Association until the 1980s. For real.) Isabel Letham is a total hero. You can read more about her via the…

Women drop in.

Yeah they do. It's okay when it's with friends (like in this shot). (via my current favourite, the lovely Stillness)

Women are strong

I've already written about how Melissa Combo is always one of the best and strongest surfers in the water.
Her surfing and her style commands any lineup I've seen her in. This image is from Joni Sternbach's, Surfland, series.

Women hang five

(via Stillness)

Women get barelled

Bec Woods is an incredible woman and surfer.

Women get low

Cloudy Rhodes (via BWG Mag)

Women win the US Open

Yeah Carissa Moore! More images here at the US Open Gallery.

Women shred

Jodie Barsby shredding in the Maldives.
Photos via Jodie's blog.  Not sure of the photographer, but I think it is Swilly.  Sincere apologies for the limited info!

Women make awesome surf films

This video, Kelly Says, is awesome. Starring, filmed and edited by Hannah and Dannie in Newquay, it is (in their own words) a "what-u-mentary by two girl surfers who are not the best surfers by far... we're not the best filmers... and we quite often struggle to get the surf report right". Pretty much a bio for me too. In fact, watching this clip reminds me of surfing with my own girlfriends and all our own dork-iness. It's so great!

You can follow them on Twitter: @kellySaysSurf, and you can read a longer interview with them over on Surfer Dad (which is where I found this clip).

Women hang heels

(via Parafina)

Women surf

Since watching the debate about the apparent inability of major surf companies to represent women who surf as surfers, I've been keeping my eyes peeled for current images and clips that show how it can be done without having to sexualise the women. I mean, I've been keeping my eyes peeled more than usual. And since I've not been writing much of late, I'm going to try and reignite my energy for contributing to an ever-growing archive of awesome images and video and stories of women surfing on this blog, which was part of the original intention anyway. I mean, the way I see is that there are an ever-growing number of bikini-clad images, so the more images and clips I can point to that show women's surfing is awesome whether sexualised or not, the better.

I'm going to start with, Say No More, which I saw over on Surfsister's always great blog. This film is showing at Carlsbad Village Theatre tonight and looks like its got some awesome surfing in it.

Say No More

Surf erotica

Thanks to Facebook (hi Dallas!), I just discovered a whole genre of surf erotica that I never knew existed. Obviously, if I'd thought about it for more than a second, I would have assumed this existed though. (Sorry for the Amazon promo. I'm to time-poor for photo editing today).

This gay erotic novella is set on the California coast among college-age surfers. The story follows Joey Verona who is the second son in a highly conservative family. Joey has turned 18 and just had his first beer. He's on his way to college, mainly to get away from his super religious parents. Joey finds that life on his own is a whole lot more than he'd ever hoped. Little does he know it when he leaves home, but he also finds himself in bed with his big brother's best friend, Dusty.

Thirteen tales of gay romantic erotica to make you swoon! Includes three stories never before published. Set in locations from Hawaii to Florida and New York to outer space, these stories will charm you, excit…

I know this is late... but why Roxy? Why?

So, despite my promises, I have not yet commented here about the now-infamous promo for the 2013 Roxy Pro (shortboard) in Biarritz. (I'm not going to link to it here. If you want to watch it, you can look it up in the usual places.) A lot of other people have been talking about it though with especially thoughtful pieces by Bec Woods, Cori Schumacher, and Tetsuhiko Endo.

As I've (slowly) gathered my thoughts on this clip, I actually have been talking about it in other places, and I have most certainly been talking about it with other women, especially other women who surf. One of the most telling moments was at a social event I went to where there were female surfers a-plenty. When I showed one of them the clip (a competitive female longboarder) she stared and gasped and kept turning to look at me wide-eyed and silent in disbelief. Then she turned the phone to the other women who all watched it one by one or in groups with the same responses - awkward laughter, head shakes and…

Sail to me

Gerry Wedd: Clever clogs.

This would make a delightful companion to the one I already have. Hmmm...

Check out more of Gerry's recent work over on his blog.

Noosa Fest 2014: Making hay while the furore shines

I know I said I'll write about the Roxy clip, and I will. But in the meantime, this is hilarious.

Nicely played, Phil Jarratt.


Yesterday I went to have breakfast with friends at a cafe. They were, as ever, running late. I had been sat at a communal table, where I was right next to a young couple who were alternating between chatting and playing on their phones. I didn't spend time listening-in to their conversation - I'm opposed to conscious eavesdropping - but my ears did pick up on the guy's response to a comment from his girlfriend that I didn't hear:

Him: You don't even know what a grommet is! (Extended silence.) It's like, a surfie dude with long hair.

I had to repress laughter at his patronising her and then, when it came time to divulge the knowledge, clearly having no real idea himself.

We were sat right next to each other, and while I was sorely temped to speak up, I stayed silent and carried on reading the paper.

P.S. I would like to acknowledge that I have not (yet) commented on the Roxy thing. I will. I am. I promise! I just needed some time to think through why this is so …


Where I'm from, we have a lighthouse that is a pretty central feature of the town. Built in 190, it sits above the town on the headland, shining it's light across the bay and the hinterland. The light spins methodically, flashing across the town every 15 seconds. It's mesmerising to sit and watch it wash for kilometres and kilometres out to sea and along the coast. Apparently, the light has a range of 50 kilometres! It's also the most powerful light in Australia. The clean blue and white colours are striking, especially when the sky is as clear blue as it was this morning.

When you drive into town from the north, it's the first thing you see of the town. The highway is a bit different now, but when I was a child, you would come over this one hill and the you would see the lighthouse and the town and the ocean in front of you. My family made a sport of being the first one the yell, 'I can see the lighthouse!' when we drove back from Brisbane or the Gold Coa…

Sea glass

I do love a sunny day in the water; when the sky and sea are cobalt, turquoise and clear. But sometimes I think I like being in the sea best when the sky is grey and rainy.

Yesterday afternoon I surfed with Izzy at a favourite break. There was only one other person out, so although the waves were tiny and slow, it didn't really matter. Out to sea, the clouds were pale grey and we could see a squall pouring rain down just south of the rocks out in the bay. When I looked back to land, the clouds were dark, which made the water glow that soft green, like sea glass. It was beautiful. As we chatted between waves the rain kept falling, splashing the surface and dripping down our faces, collecting the salt in the corners of our mouths.

By all standards, it was far from a good surf, but it was so quiet and easy and pretty that I left feeling much calmer than I had when I arrived.

I don't think I'll ever get used to how beautiful the changing colours of the sea are.



Warning: May cause jealousy.

I see footage like this - sunny and warm and carefree and smooth and calming - and I think to myself: what the hell am I doing? What. The hell. Am. I. Doing? (Via Toddy)

Travers Adler | Maui from Mollusk Surf Shop on Vimeo.

And then I remember there's a time to work and a time to surf, and there are times when those times are not in sync with each other. So in a way, this makes me want to work a bit harder, so I can enjoy the surfy times even more.

Either way, I'll be going surfing this weekend.

Big Wave World Tour

So, following the post below, I just found out about the newly announced, Big Wave World Tour. You can read the full press release on the Big Wave World Tour website, here.

The BWWT is going to be run by the ASP and according to ASP CEO Paul Speaker,
The competitors on the BWWT are some of the fiercest and most-respected watermen on the planet and we are eager about the opportunity to take their tour to the next level. This arrangement also allows the world’s best surfers on the ASP World Championship Tour to compete in big-wave events moving forward. Kieren Perrow said that, It adds another dimension to the sport and will make it significantly easier for ASP Top 34 surfers to compete in big-wave events. So, I'm not clear (nor really interested) on the details but the way the tour will be run highlights renowned big wave surfers like Greg Long and Shane Dorian, while creating space for World Championship Tour surfers to compete; The new-found arrangement between the ASP and the BW…

Duct Tape Invitational. Another chick-free event!

This morning I opened my inbox to an email from Nathan Oldfield with a link to his latest clip. As always, it's pretty and fun.

T.C.S.S. Presents: A Doc-umentary from Nathan Oldfield on Vimeo.

But it had the added function of reminding me how annoyed I felt that there were, as ever, no women invited. And it wasn't just me! According to Facebook, there were quite a few crew commenting on how of the sixteen spots open, not one was offered to a woman. As far as I could tell, this was not officially a 'men's' comp so don't you think that is a problem?

Of course, this is not an uncommon story. Big wave riding competitions rarely invite women, and when they have it's been as an 'exhibition' event. (Maybe something has changed recently. I haven't been following these kinds of events as they're not on my radar for now. I doubt it though.) This is usually argued on the basis that women are not as strong or involved in this kind of surfing as men. Sure…